Scientists aren’t sure why we dream. No one has cracked the “dream code”. It’s still a mystery. But scientists have discovered plenty of other fascinating facts about what goes on in the land.
From the types of people who dream in black and white to the best way to lucid dream, here are awesome realities about our night-time fantasies.
You Create an Emotional Inventory
People feel the same emotions they do when they’re awake—fear, joy, ambivalence—as they do when they’re dreaming later that night, that’s why you may wake up crying or laughing or yelling.
It’s your brain’s way of sorting and storing data. Your mind wants to remember how you felt during an experience so it knows how to react—or not react—the next time you’re confronted with a similar scenario.
Wet Dreams Are More Common Than Guys Admit
Eighty-three percent of men have experienced nocturnal emissions, “wet dreams”.
Some researchers believe that a wet dream is more likely to occur when several weeks have passed between orgasms. That’s because it’s your body’s way of making room for fresh sperm supplies. Although wet dreams are most common during puberty and the average 40-year-old man has one every 5.5 weeks.
Dreams Get Crazier As the Night Goes On
The dreams you have right before you wake up are weirder than the ones that occur earlier in the night. When you first fall asleep, your dreams help your mind unpack your day and try to make sense of it.
But later on, your mind is free to wander and that’s when things get weird—you turn into a falcon or you hook up with Jennifer Lawrence or you beat Donald Trump in the polls.
Only Some People Dream In Black and White
The seniors—but not young people—dream in black and white about 25 percent of the time. Scientists say the older generation’s exposure to black-and-white TV may explain why they sometimes struggle to dream in Technicolor.
The ‘Strangers’ You Meet May Not Be So Strange
It is believed that the strangers you meet in your dreams may be people you’ve met before. Even though you have no recollection of ever laying eyes on them, they could be random people you’ve passed on the street or seen on TV—not brand-new creations. Remember that random cashier who bagged your groceries 7 years ago? Of course you don’t—but your subconscious has likely stored away his image, and it just bubbled up again.
Some Of Your Body Parts Will Morph
The most peoples’ brains have trouble recreating hands and faces when they’re unconscious. A finger may be missing or your hand may be deformed. Facial features are often misarranged, blurred, or simply absent when you look closely at someone in your dreams.
You Can’t Walk
Just like your brain has problems rendering hands and faces, your brain has trouble recreating the physical sensation associated with your feet hitting the ground. Look down in a dream, and you’ll usually find yourself floating or flying, he says.
You Can Control Your Dreams
You can train your brain to stay conscious during dreams—without ever waking up. This phenomenon is called lucid dreaming.
How do you do it? Ask yourself if you’re dreaming every couple hours during the day.
Look at your own reflection or at your hands—both of which tend to look odd when you dream—in a mirror while you do it. Then tell yourself you’re not dreaming, and that this is reality. Sure, it sounds strange. But this practice trains your mind to recognize your physical existence.
That way, when you do have a dream, your brain will start to differentiate between the tangible and the intangible. And once you can learn to identify that you’re dreaming, you can decide which people to dream about, what to do, and where to go.
You Can Have Dreams Within Dreams
You wake up from a dream and start your morning routine. But when you reach for your coffee, you notice your arm is actually a Terminator-style metal spear. Then you wake up for real.
This kind of “false awakening” is common. So are other Inception-like dreams within dreams—though experts don’t know why we have them.
You Can Fight Off Nightmares
Maybe you repeatedly dream that a monster (or your ex-girlfriend) is chasing you. You wake up in a pile of sweat. Enough is enough.
When you’re awake, imagine that same exact scene, but picture a peaceful or harmless ending. Maybe the monster just wanted to tell you that he found your keys on the ground. Or maybe your ex wanted to give you back your favorite college sweatshirt, and tell you that she met the love of her life and they’re moving to Ecuador.